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Honey money

Fair trade is not only about goods being bought and sold internationally. It is also about producers generating a fair income within their local communities.

There is a strong tradition of bee-keeping as a hobby in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe. However, with rising unemployment and money scarce, more and more people started to harvest honey as their main source of income. Unfortunately, the techniques and equipment that they used were more suited to bee-keeping as a hobby than as a business.

Recognising this, Practical Action worked with local people to set up the Bumba Honey Centre. This offered training in bee-keeping skills and techniques, and introduced the use of better hives. Importantly, it also bought honey from the local people at a guaranteed price, then sold it on to buyers from Harare (the capital city of Zimbabwe).

The Centre has transformed the lives of people like Obert Sunguro, who used to have to travel 60km to sell his honey. Now he grades his honey at home and takes it to the Bumba Centre, where he is paid a guaranteed price according to its quality. He uses the more regular income provided by the centre to pay school fees for some of his six children and to buy necessities like soap. To share their success, the Chimanimani bee-keepers have used some of their profit to set up honey centres in other areas.

See our case study on beekeeping

For a complete listing of every possible subject relating to bees, go to www.beehoo.com/

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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